Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and anticorruption activists have lamented President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's decision to grant clemency to former Riau governor Annas Maamun, making him eligible for parole in October 2020.
Ade Kusmanto, the head spokesperson for the corrections division in the Law and Human Rights Ministry, confirmed that the clemency was issued on Oct. 25.
KPK spokesperson Febri Diansyah said the antigraft body had only received a letter informing it about the clemency on Tuesday evening and would study it further.
"We were quite surprised when we heard about the granting of clemency to Annas Maamun, who had been involved in a number of corruption cases that are being handled by the KPK," Febri said in a statement on Tuesday.
Annas had been convicted of accepting over Rp 1.5 billion in bribes in a forest conversion case that caused Rp 5 billion (US$375,460) in state losses, and was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment in 2015.
The clemency reduces Annas' sentence to six years, putting his unconditional release date at October 2021 and his parole date at October 2020.
"We have to understand that corruption in the forestry sector greatly affects the forests, the environment and the public interest," Febri said.
Graft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) also expressed its disappointment at Jokowi's decision, saying that it was another display of the President's lack of commitment toward fighting graft.
"Even just this year, the President has taken many steps that are at odds with the antigraft spirit," ICW said in a statement on Tuesday, citing the naming of problematic new KPK leaders, the passing of the controversial KPK Law revision, and Jokowi's refusal to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to overturn the law.
"This step from President Joko Widodo [to grant Annas clemency] injures the public's sense of justice because it is the public that is most affected by the corruption crimes that the convict has committed," ICW said. (kmt)